But the point I want to make is that when I got spanked it hurt. I remember the last time my Dad tried spanking me -- I was probably about 13 and mouthy as all get out (I know, I know, you're shocked!) He swatted my butt for being disrespectful and I laughed and told him it didn't hurt. Probably not the wisest choice. The next few swats hurt.
Discipline and correction hurt, even when they are done in the most appropriate ways from the most loving of hearts. My mom, when I was about 48, said over the phone, "Claudia, I must say that I am very disappointed in your language lately. You were raised better than that! I have heard you say, "oh my gosh" several times in the last few months!" (In my home growing up, gosh and gee and darn and heck were just as bad as the real thing). So, when she was 86 telling me that she was disappointed at my 48 year old "potty mouth", I didn't agree with her and even found it a bit comical ... but it still hurt a little bit to know I had disappointed her.
Discipline or correction hurts when it comes from a supervisor or a coworker when they are honest to share that you have done something that offended, caused stress, or hurt someone's feelings, even if it wasn't your attention. It doesn't feel good to know that you caused someone pain.
Discipline or correction doesn't feel good when it comes from a well-meaning spouse who shares how your attitude is causing stress for your child, or how your behavior is reminding them of their mother (no, of course, that hasn't happened to me :-), or how you hurt their feelings by something you said or did.
The reason that this kind of "discipline" hurts, maybe even more than a spanking, is because when we feel like we are trying our hardest, it's still not easy to know that we have not yet attained perfection. We still have a long ways to go. And it hurts to know we've unintentionally hurt someone else.
But discipline, when applied from pure motives and a loving heart, is what helps us to get better. It's what gives us another perspective and allows us to make changes that make our families healthier, our friends healthier, and our workplaces healthier.
In addition to all the other discipline and correction we receive from others, God's going to discipline us too! And it's going to hurt. Sometimes he uses circumstances. And sometimes he even uses the people mentioned above... supervisors, spouses, coworkers, even our children.
What should our response be?
I found these words from Proverbs 3:
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this.
So that's our set of instructions of how to handle it when God disciplines us, which may be, like it has been for me, almost on a daily basis.
1) Don't resent it;
2) Don't sulk;
2) Remember that His correction is loving;
3) Recognize that He does it because he loves us --- he wouldn't correct us if he didn't;
4) Acknowledge that his delight is behind all of this. That thought is worth a whole new blog post but this is getting long enough as it is.
So if you, like me, are in a season of discipline, remember. It comes from love and your Father's delight is behind it all.